Native Mineral Resources looks as though it might have a tiger by the tail in north Queensland, with its maiden drilling program over the Leane’s copper prospect possibly already pushing through paydirt. The fledgling base metals explorer has hit anomalous copper mineralisation in its first five shallow drill holes whilst a sixth deeper drill hole has chewed through a series of porphyry veins, hinting that Native may be on to a larger feeder system at depth.
The company, which only listed on the ASX in early November, wasted no time firing up the drill rigs having completed 6 of 15 planned drill holes over the budding prospect.
Preliminary drilling over the Leane’s copper leases is designed to test both the near surface copper mineralisation and probe the depths of the system, in search of a large copper-gold porphyry which feeds the near-surface breccias. These initial results are, at the very least, intriguing.
Native was originally put on the trail of this elusive copper body during preparatory desktop studies when it happened across the results of a shallow drilling program undertaken by Lodestone Exploration in 2010. The previous drilling appears to have only scratched the surface but did provide a hint of what may lie beneath, unearthing a number of tantalising intercepts including 28m at 0.55 per cent copper and 11m at 0.32 per cent copper.
These are truly impressive indications from our initial drilling program at Palmerville and it is certainly an exciting time for NMR. Our first five holes have intersected shallow skarn-style breccia with elevated copper grades based on portable XRF measurements, which is a strong validation of the exploration strategy we have implemented, also demonstrating that our exploration and mineralisation model for Leane’s is spot on. Every hole completed so far has intersected shallow skarn-style breccia with elevated copper grades and our first deeper hole has intersected porphyry veins suggesting the presence of a larger intrusive system below the skarn-breccia zone.
Following these encouraging early results from shallow drilling, our field crew is now ready to commence a diamond drillhole to test mineralisation at depth as the current drillhole has intersected porphyry veins suggesting the presence of a larger intrusive system below the skarn-breccia zone.
The Leane’s copper prospect lies within Native’s Palmerville project in Queensland and is located around 200km west-northwest of Cairns. The project extends across a 130km strike of the famed Chilligoe Formation and covers more than 1,820 square kilometres of the highly prospective mineral field.
Palmerville hosts a number of targets ranging from Red Plateau prospect in the south to the Little Kennedy Creek copper prospect in the north. The company is targeting a range of deposit styles across the mineral field including copper-gold volcanogenic massive and vein style sulphides, intrusive gold and antimony-rich deposits, and high-grade epithermal gold deposits.
However, it appears the coveted porphyry copper-gold and associated skarn-styles of mineralisation, which have proven to be profitable for previous miners in the region, sit atop of Native Minerals’ wish-list.
Leane’s prospect is located in the central project area and is modelled to be a deeper porphyry system, which is overlain by a brecciated, metal-rich skarn which extends over more than 1km of strike. The company’s exploration model is based upon the architecture of the large skarn and porphyry systems in the district, including the nearby Red Dome and Mungana deposits. Early results from Native’s drilling program appear to have confirmed the model.
The massive potential of porphyry copper-gold deposits has recently captured the market’s attention following the discovery of several large mineral systems globally, including some potential company makers by ASX-listed explorers. Alkane Resources’ Boda discovery in NSW continues to make headlines as does Hot Chili’s colossal 724 million tonne Costa Fuego deposit in South America.
Native Minerals’ boasts portfolio which includes an array of projects in the fertile metal-rich terranes of both Queensland and Western Australia. In Queensland, aside from Palmerville, the company also owns the Mt Morgan project, which is located 30km south of Rockhampton and is prospective for both copper and gold mineralisation. The nearby Mt Morgan’s mine has produced over 50 million tonnes at 0.7 per cent copper and 4.7 g/t tonne gold, providing a tantalising model for ongoing exploration.
In Western Australia, the company holds an option over three strategic project areas in the Eastern Goldfields. The Mt Vetters and Music Well tenure lie to the north of Kalgoorlie whilst Arcoona sits to the east of the mining centre. The tenement package covers more than 540 square kilometres of the gold-rich stratigraphy in the region and is currently the subject of a detailed review with native looking to kick off exploration in the new year.
Ahead of then, Native Minerals looks to have its hands full in Queensland and has quickly shifted its exploration program into high gear at Palmerville. With samples in the laboratory and the ongoing drilling program at the Leane’s prospect intersecting a potential wealth of skarn and porphyry mineralisation, the company is likely to be holding its breath as it awaits results in the lead up to Christmas.
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